Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Soups of January '18-- Thai Red Curry

Well yes, it's been awhile, but there's nothing so inspiring as my annual "Soups of January" to motivate me to post. I started this tradition several years ago when post holiday reflection on our eating and waist expansion seemed to strike a glum note in our souls, and raised the bar on our bathroom scale. You can't go too wrong with soup, as long as it isn't cream and starch-based. Lots of hot liquid to fill you up and you can pile on lots of vegetables to meld into the savory broth.

This is a new one for me. We love the curry dishes, which are more like soups and stews, at Thai restaurants. Every since our favorite restaurant closed down, we have been adrift, looking for just that right Thai place. Even though I know I'm not doing it totally right, ethnically speaking, this incarnation is close enough to work.

I didn't use a recipe, I just thought about what I wanted to put in, added it, and then tasted as I went along. One of the ingredients I really like in my curry is the sliced pieces of pumpkin. I just happened to have a large butternut squash in the cupboard, so I peeled and sliced a 2" section of the top. I simmered the pieces in water until they were tender, but not mushy, and then set them aside.

Into the soup pot went a cup or so of chicken stock and about a pound or less of sliced boneless, skinless chicken thighs. When they were more or less done, I dumped in a whole can of coconut milk. I never bother with the "Lite" stuff. This is the whole fatty coconut stuff. Yum! I had a couple tablespoons of Thai red curry paste left in my little jar (Thai Kitchen brand) and added that to the broth. As it gently simmered, I cut up one smallish-mediumish zucchini into small quarter slices and stirred them in, along with sliced mushrooms. I added the butternut squash to the soup and added in a small handful of very finely sliced cabbage, for the texture and nutrients. At the last minute I remembered the Thai basil from my garden that I had dried and put into my spice cupboard. I rubbed a couple generous pinches in my palm and mixed that in too.

When I tasted it, it was warm, but just not quite hot and spicy enough for my tastes, so I added about a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I dressed it with a few lime slices and served it with hot jasmine rice.

I told my husband that he would be voting on his favorite of the week soon, and I suspect this one might be a finalist!

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